William W. Short senior (1833-1917) -Oil painting, Figures on a bush track, c.1895

$1,450.00 AUD

William Short senior (1833-1917)

Figures on a bush track

Oil on card,

Signed & dated lower left, ‘Wm Short / 1895’

William Wackenbarth Short was a painter & photographer, born in England &* taught to paint by his artist father, Henry Short. In 1852, aged 18, he came to Melbourne, and proceeded to paint local views, with the Yarra River valley being a favourite. He is recorded producing ‘moving panoramas’ – long canvas scenes that were moved through a viewing frame – exhibiting his first in 1856, the Siege of Sebastopol. In 1858, it was a ‘Grand moving panorama of the Indian War’. In 1860, he was (luckily) unsuccessful in his application to be the artist on the Burke & Wills expedition. As a ‘struggling artist’, he raised a living by selling raffle tickets for his work as an Art Union Prize.

In 1863, he embraced the emerging market for photography, titling himself an ‘artist in colours & photographic artist’.

At first, he’s noted as ‘junior’ in the records, as a curious thing occurred in the colony: another artist appeared, with exactly the same name! The other William Short is not well documented, probably an uncle.  As William was younger, he’s the ‘junior’, while the ‘other’ artist was titled ‘senior’.  Confusingly, William had a son – William Henry Short – and when he began painting in the 1880’s, he was the junior. The ‘other’ short had disappeared, and William Wackenbarth Short then began to sign ‘Senior’!

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